You Did That on Purpose?

“Here we are in Bora Bora!” screamed the photo’s caption as I scrolled social media. My dear friend and her family smiled out from the screen, water droplets glinting off their sand-speckled skin. As I sat hunched in front of my laptop on yet another cold, grey, Canadian day, my friend, her husband, and their two kids were enjoying the sun and sand halfway around the world. And yet, all I could think was: she’s a brave woman! I don’t even like taking my kids to the grocery store, let alone on an international trip to some place I can’t find on the map. She must’ve made a deal with the devil himself to convince her family to take that trip. All I can say is: if that were my family, I’d come home in a body bag after dying from stress-induced angina.

Elly hauls suitcases and the kids at the same time.

            Travel isn’t what it used to be. The extent of my childhood journeys involved the back seat of a station wagon and violent spells of heat stroke. There was no air-conditioning. My parents thought that traveling to the interior of British Columbia during the peak of summer was fun (for some reason), so we’d spend days driving the blisteringly hot highway, peeling our thighs off the vinyl car seats when we stopped. Bathroom breaks were at outhouses on the side of the road. First class travel, indeed. “Look at all this fresh fruit!” my mother would exclaim, grabbing fistfuls of peaches out of cardboard boxes at dinky little road stands. Terrific, mom. We drove two hundred kilometers for peaches. Lemme write about that in my diary. “Would you kids stop reading?” she’s hiss at my sister and me, “you’re missing all the scenery!” Forget video games or cell phones, my mom was mad at us for reading in the car. And I’m not sure what ‘scenery’ she was talking about, because the only things you’d see in the interior are scrub brush and dust.

            Still, it is good for kids to experience different things, right? To experience new sights and sounds; to taste new foods instead of the tired fast-food hamburgers I buy. Now that my offspring are older, I don’t have an excuse to keep them home. Maybe, this summer, we’ll pack up our ol’ minivan and hit the road, bound for adventure and endless whining. All I can say is my kids won’t deal with certain pains that I did as a child. Our minivan has cloth seats – no vinyl burns for them. Sigh. Who am I kidding? Why would I torture myself on purpose? Any car trip longer than ten minutes has me gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. Forget road trips and international travel – I need to survive my next drive to the liquor store!